Home > Uncategorized > Not A Good 24 Hours For The Ulnar Collateral Ligament

Not A Good 24 Hours For The Ulnar Collateral Ligament

It’s about time that the ulnar collateral ligament starts getting the ACL treatment. Just use the three initials and everyone knows what it means. I know that, unlike the ACL, there’s more than one UCL in the body. But I can’t remember the last time I heard it in the news associated with the wrist or the thumb. UCL means an elbow problem. And it’s a killer in sports. Much like with the ACL, a UCL conversation is never good. It likely means your season done and you’re on the shelf for about a year. Any mention of it strikes fear into the hearts of baseball fans. It is the Tommy John ligament. And the UCL has made life very difficult on two pitchers in the past day.

I was watching the Diamondbacks-Rockies game Tuesday when something happened to Jorge De La Rosa in the third inning. No one was sure of what. He was pretty much rolling along when the catcher, the infield, the manager and the trainer all converged on the mound. De La Rosa departed the game to much speculation. Maybe it was a reoccurrence of his blister problems. Maybe he just wasn’t feeling well. It looked pretty innocuous.

Elbow soreness was reported shortly thereafter. But the extent of that soreness was profound.

De La Rosa had torn his UCL. Completely. You won’t see him on a MLB mound again until May 2012 at the earliest.

I guess that’s one difference between a UCL and an ACL tear. The former can come out of something that doesn’t appear to be worrisome at first glance.

On the other hand, you can tell when someone blows out their knee.

Today’s victim is Yankees pitcher Rafael Soriano. However, his diagnosis isn’t season-ending … yet. Soriano hadn’t pitched since May 13 due to — guess what? — elbow tenderness. He was told today to shut it down for two weeks and then go through a four-to-six-week throwing program. That’s because his right UCL is inflamed, but not torn. He was told this in a meeting with Dr. James Andrews, another harbinger of doom in sports. Maybe we should just abbreviate his name in headlines and stories to Dr. JA.

Fu-Te Ni Has UCL Surgery By Dr. JA.”

You’ve got to like that.

Anyway, Soriano will be out until mid-July. But there’s no guarantee that the ligament will return to 100 percent strength after the respite. This could just be foreshadowing toward a year-ending surgery for Soriano not too far down the road. Oh, and he already underwent TJ surgery in 2004.

This is probably one of those cases where Brian Cashman wishes he wasn’t right.

So remember that it’s all about initialisms, kids. No more ulnar collateral ligament; it’s UCL or nothing.

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